Welcome to the webbed and wired edition of R&R, aristotle. We’ll be doing the same sort of song and dance here as we do in print: reviewing the latest comics and cartoon-related books and ranting about trends and abuses and unfathomable foolishnesses. Each installment will stay here for about four weeks, with a new one coming in just about every other week or so. If you don’t have the time to ponder every punctuation mark in this deathless prose and merely want to see what might be there that would interest you, we suggest you scroll down the page looking for the bold-face type that heralds the notables who reside herein this week. So here we go with Opus 358 (and a reprise of Opus 357):
Opus 358 (October 13, 2016). Down the rabbit hole this time, we spend lots of time on the political season. We won’t have the Trumpet to make fun of much longer, so we’ve devoted a yuuge section of this opus to his shenanigans, including a survey of Trump caricatures, Trump errors, missteps, fake apologies, sexual obsessions (the notorious videotape), his corruptions and connivings, his lies and deceptions and law-breakings, and other Trump insecurities and buffooneries. And the debates. We also have a long report on the recent convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC), devoting vast reaches to experiential reportage, with lots of editoons and photographs. We try to take you there. Try it; you’ll see. All of which makes this posting an editorial cartooning extravaganza unequaled anywhere in the digital ether. But that’s not all. We review at loving length the landmark tome, Pioneering Cartoonists of Color, and a collection of Kelly’s Onion kartoons. And we ponder Wonder Woman’s sexuality, Cerebus’ damnation, and a do-nothing Congress. And more, much more. Here’s what’s here, in order, by department—:
NOUS R US
Jordan Writer Killed Because of Cartoon
Wednesday’s Chick Retires
Stan Lee’s Con (and Stan Lee Day)
March, A National Book Awards Finalist
Wonder Woman On the Big Screen (Gay?)
Jackie Ormes, A Monument
Cerebus Died and Went to Hell
Odds & Addenda
Obama Last 100 Days in Mad
Wimpy Kid Hits 180 Million
AAEC’S ELECTION YEAR CONVENTION
What Happened During Editoonists 3-Day Fete
Eaten Fish Interviewed
Trump as Editoonists See Him
And Other Events of the Month Worthy of Ridicule
Some of the Best Political Cartoons of Recent Weeks
The Names People Have for This Asshole of a Buffoon
THE FROTH ESTATE
The News Media Thinks Better Of It—
And Starts Unveiling The Trumpet’s Flaws (A Bonanza)
TrumpTalk: Fame and the Sex It’ll Get You
The Notorious Videotape
The Second Presidential Debate
Short Reviews Of—:
Kelly: The Cartoonist America Turns To (in the Onion)
Long Awaited Biography of George Herriman, December 6
TRUDEAU PICKS SIX FAVORITE BOOKS
Pioneering Cartoonists of Color
RANCID RAVES GALLERY
NEWSPAPER COMICS PAGE VIGIL
Who’s a Douche Bag?
ONWARD, THE SPREADING PUNDITY
Thoughts About Our Do-Nothing Congress
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
If Not of A Lifetime
“Goddamn it, you’ve got to be kind.”—Kurt Vonnegut
Our Motto: It takes all kinds. Live and let live.
Wear glasses if you need ’em.
But it’s hard to live by this axiom in the Age of Tea Baggers,
so we’ve added another motto:.
Seven days without comics makes one weak.
(You can’t have too many mottos.)
And our customary reminder: when you get to the $ubscriber/Associate Section (perusal of which is restricted to paid subscribers), don’t forget to activate the “Bathroom Button” by clicking on the “print friendly version” so you can print off a copy of just this installment for reading later, at your leisure while enthroned. Without further adieu, then, here we go—:
NOUS R US
Some of All the News That Gives Us Fits
JORDAN WRITER KILLED BECAUSE OF CARTOON
Prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar was shot to death outside a court where he was facing charges for sharing a cartoon on Facebook that was deemed offensive to Islam, reported aljazeera.com.
Hattar, a Christian, was arrested on August 13 after posting a cartoon on his Facebook page that depicted a bearded man in heaven smoking in bed with women, asking God to bring him wine and cashews. Hattar removed the cartoon shortly thereafter, saying "it mocks terrorists and their concept of God and heaven. It does not infringe God's divinity in any way.” (The cartoon appears on the other side of the $ubscribers Wall.)
Attempting to explain his motive for sharing the cartoon, Hattar said he did not intend to cause offense to Muslims and wanted the cartoon to "expose" the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group and the Muslim Brotherhood. In another explanation, Hattar said "as a non-believer" he nonetheless respected "the believers who did not understand the satire behind the cartoon".
It is not known who produced the cartoon. The gunman was arrested.
Many Jordanian Muslims considered the cartoon offensive and against their religion. Authorities said Hattar violated the law by widely sharing the cartoon. He was charged with inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam before being released on bail in early September.
Daoud Kuttab, an award-winning journalist and director of Community Media Network, told Al Jazeera that Hattar's killing represents a "scary situation where people with opinions we don't like or the government doesn't like become susceptible to assassination. It's a clear case of intellectual terror," added Kuttab.
After the cartoon appeared on Facebook, the backlash against Hattar was immediate, with Jordanian social media users lambasting the writer for purposely causing offence to Muslims.
Social media users also called on the government to question and arrest Hattar, and some attacked him for being Christian and a secularist.
Social media accounts of prominent conservatives in Jordan and elsewhere were celebrating Hattar's death, saying he deserved it for blasphemy.
WEDNESDAY’S CHICK RETIRES
Rina Piccolo, one of the six women cartoonists who produce the King Features’ comic strip Six Chix on a rotating schedule—each cartoonist does one day a week—has retired from the strip with her last appearance, Wednesday, September 28. She will continue, however, doing her daily comic strip, Tina’s Groove. Writing in her blog, Piccolo said:
“I made the decision this past June, and as you may imagine, it was a difficult one to make—I really love doing single panel gags for Six Chix; it’s always been a unique feature. When it launched in 2000 with King Features, it was my first experience in the field of syndication, a sort of debut you might say, and since then I’ve grown so much as a cartoonist—and as a person.
“It goes without saying that growth brings change, and for the past year or so, I’ve had a revision of career goals. You could say that my parting from Six Chix is the beginning of a new, and exciting time. While it’s too early to tell you of my upcoming project, I could tell you that I am not quitting Six Chix without good reason.”
Wednesday readers will now read that day’s strip by Susan Camilleri-Konar—“my dear friend,” said Piccolo. “What can I say about Susan? The two of us have the same sense of humor. We jam comics together over FaceTime (she lives in Vancouver, and I live in Toronto. Yes, she’s a fellow-Canuck!) As for her work, you may have already seen Susan’s cartoons. Her gags run frequently in The Reader’s Digest, The Wall Street Journal, Woman’s World, The Harvard Business Review, and more. She also does illustration.
“Personally, I think there is no one more fit for the job, and I’m happy that my Wednesdays will be taken care of by a cartoonist that I believe in.
“Saying goodbye to a feature is weird,” Piccolo went on, “— but it’s not as though I’m going anywhere. You can still see me in the funny papers with [her daily comic strip] Tina’s Groove! Yet I feel the need to say something pivotal about my resignation because Six Chix has been an impactful, important part of my life. It’s the feature that taught me the ropes in this funny business of syndicated comics. It’s the place where I refined my abilities in writing and drawing – allowing me to develop the sorts of skills that would later open doors.
“Six Chix is where I met Jay Kennedy, its creator. Jay Kennedy was my first syndicate editor, and the guy responsible for making Tina’s Groove happen. He was a wonderful man. It was through Jay that I met my now ex-husband, Brendan Burford [who succeeded Kennedy as King’s comics editor—RCH]. Another great King Features editor, and wonderful man. It was because of Jay and Brendan, and all my friends at King Features, and Torstar Syndicate, that my career meshed intimately with my personal life (I’ve long since stopped trying to disentangle the two).
“And Six Chix was at the beginning of it all.”
STAN LEE’S CON
And a New Holiday for Los Angeles
Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo gets a new name just in time for this year’s con. Henceforth, reported Aaron Couch at hollywoodreporter.com, the Lee extravaganza will be known as Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con; this year, it runs October 28-30.
"I felt that a lot of people didn't know what Comikaze really meant or what it was. And I didn't think we should hide under a bushel," Lee said. "Los Angeles is, to me, the center of the world's entertainment. It has to have a Comic Con."
Lee's only regret about the new name? "I'd like to get the word 'Super' in there if I could," he jokes.
Held on the eve of Hallowe’en, Lee’s Con will continue the tradition of bringing in two tons of candy for trick or treaters — who go from booth to booth to get their bounty (as their parents or guardians check out the goods venders are selling). “Children 12 and under are admitted free,” said Couch, “— and visitors don't skip any booths when candy is involved.”
For Lee, said Couch, “he's determined to continue making L.A. Comic Con bigger every year — to be synonymous not only with tv, movies and comics, but also sports and music eventually.”
"I want [people] to feel they've had an experience,” said Lee, “—because these conventions are a chance for the fans to be up close to the people they are fans of and to see the workings of the television shows — and even music and sports. It's going to encompass everything that people are entertained by. People love comics, movies and television more and more every year, so we intend to provide more and more every year."
And on opening day of this year’s Con, Lee will be honored by the city council, which has officially designated October 28 as “Stan Lee Day” in the city of Los Angeles.
MARCH, A NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS FINALIST
Publisher Top Shelf rejoiced in reporting that the National Book Foundation’s finalists for the 67th Annual National Book Awards include the concluding volume of the graphic novel March, the autobiographical series that depicts Congressman John Lewis’s firsthand account of the Civil Rights Movement.
Written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell, the series has previously won such honors as the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Eisner Award, two Harvey Awards, and a Coretta Scott King Author Honor. It is rapidly being adopted by universities and public school systems from New York to San Francisco, and recently spent six continuous weeks holding the top 3 spots on the New York Times Bestseller List.
“This is amazing to me,” said Lewis. “I’m overwhelmed and deeply moved that March: Book Three is a finalist for the National Book Award. It is my hope that this honor inspires many more young people, and people not so young, to read March and to learn the transformative lessons of our ongoing struggle to create the beloved community.”
Co-writer Aydin had this to say: “When I found out, I cried. I couldn’t help it. This is such an unbelievable honor. It’s been an incredibly long and difficult journey to get to this point, and I am deeply, deeply grateful to the judges and supporters who have gotten us here.”
Artist Powell added: “We're all blown away by how deeply this trilogy has been embraced. It's never been more urgent to understand and apply the Movement's history and perspectives — this work is for the unwritten future. We're grateful to be able to help those voices be heard.
“It means so much that we’ve had such a passionate response to this work, and to further increase comics’ presence in the world at large,” Powell went on. “We all need this account of the young, dedicated people — who changed the fabric of our society — to understand what it takes to push our world forward.”
The winners — who receive $10,000, a bronze medal and a statue — will be announced November 16 at a New York ceremony.
WONDER WOMAN ON THE BIG SCREEN
Will Wonder Woman Be the Movies’ First Major Queer Character?
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has acquired worldwide rights to Topple Productions and Boxspring Entertainment’s “Professor Marston & The Wonder Women,” the unconventional true story of behind the creation of the most famous female comic book superhero of all time. Written and directed by Angela Robinson, Deadline Hollywood reports, the indie feature has already begun production, starring Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcote.
“Professor Marston” details the life of Dr. William Moulton Marston (Evans), Harvard psychologist and inventor who created Wonder Woman in 1941; his wife, fellow psychologist and inventor Elizabeth (Hall); and their polyamorous relationship with Olive Byrne (Heathcote), a former student of Marston’s and an academic in her own right.
Their relationship proved enduring. Marston created DC’s iconic Amazonian princess with significant input from Elizabeth having been inspired to do so by Olive. Marston, like Wonder Woman, was profoundly influenced by the feminist ideals espoused by Elizabeth and Olive. After his death from skin cancer in 1947, Elizabeth and Olive raised their children by Marston together and remained a couple until Olive’s death in 1988.
The film will explore how Marston dealt with the controversy surrounding his creation — which homophobic moral guardians charged would turn young girls into lesbians — while he and his partners navigated and concealed a romantic and family life that, if exposed, could have destroyed them all.
All of which prompts speculation about how the movie will deal with Wonder Woman’s sexual preferences. DC Comics, the Guardian reports, has confirmed the Amazonian princess is bisexual, so why not celebrate the superhero’s queer identity on the big screen?
FOR THOSE HOPING TO SEE a little more diversity in superhero films, there is now a sliver of hope. The writer of Wonder Woman’s current comic book adventures has confirmed what we pretty much all knew, that Princess Diana of Themyscira is bisexual.
“Yes,” replied Greg Rucka when the Guardian’s Ben Child asked whether his revamped version of the Amazonian warrior was queer.
“I think it’s more complicated though,” he said. “This is inherently the problem with Diana: we’ve had a long history of people – for a variety of reasons, including sometimes pure titillation, which I think is the worst reason – say, ‘Ooo. Look. It’s the Amazons. They’re gay!’
“And when you start to think about giving the concept of Themyscira its due, the answer is, ‘How can they not all be in same sex relationships?’ Right? It makes no logical sense otherwise.
“It’s supposed to be paradise. You’re supposed to be able to live happily. You’re supposed to be able – in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner – to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship. And the only options are women. But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say, ‘You’re gay.’ They don’t. The concept doesn’t exist.”
Rucka’s right, Child said. “No one should be too surprised that Wonder Woman likes women when she lives in a single-sex feminist utopia. But there are also strong historical reasons why the superhero should be considered proudly queer.
“Wonder Woman was created in 1941 by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston, a famously leftfield, not to mention rather creepy, thinker on matters of sexuality and feminism who, as documented in Jill Lepore’s 2014 book The Secret History of Wonder Woman, lived in a menage a trois (and sometimes more) with his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston (often considered the superhero’s co-creator) and their lover and cohabitant Olive Byrne. Both women have been cited as inspirations for the character, with Elizabeth believed to have contributed her famous phrase ‘Suffering Sappho!’ and Olive her looks.”
Though born of male bondage fantasies, Wonder Woman still emerges as a frontrunner of emancipation in this impressive account, writes Catherine Bennett.
And Child asks: Will monster director Patty Jenkins, who’s overseeing the new Wonder Woman movie, be brave enough to incorporate her subject’s queer identity, thereby making her the first major big-screen gay superhero?
NO ONE’S SUGGESTING (and Rucka seems to be fiercely against) a full-scale “I’m transexual, Barbara” moment, in the vein of Simone’s Batgirl run, Child said, but there are other more subtle ways to offer a sly nod to recent developments. Although Jenkins’ film wrapped in May, it surely wouldn’t require full-scale reshoots for the film-makers to shoehorn in, say, an early flashback scene hinting at the superhero’s youthful dalliances on Themyscira.
Despite the risk—and Warner Bros has been burned on this subject before (over Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn in “Suicide Squad”)— there’s an argument, Child goes on, that it makes no sense for same-sex relationships to remain taboo for superhero movies in 2016 when the highest-grossing children’s film franchise of all-time, Harry Potter, achieved some its best box office results following J.K. Rowling’s 2007 revelation that Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore was gay. More recently, we learned that Gobber, the amputee Viking from the How to Train Your Dragon movies also prefers men, without any real associated fuss.
By celebrating Diana of Themyscira’s bisexuality, DC would in one fell stroke leap ahead of rival Marvel in the diversity stakes and guarantee itself a whopping share of the pink pound come opening weekend next June. There is an opportunity here, Child said—beyond doing the right thing and offering acolytes a sly nod to the superhero’s famously unorthodox gestation. And perhaps the Amazonian princess needs a little something extra to shout about, a genuine distinguishing mark, for us to hear her voice through the cacophony of big-screen superheroes heading to screens over the next few years.
Never mind the lasso of truth, said Child— or her frickin’ invisible plane, as she prepares to hit the multiplexes for the first time in her own movie next year, a queer identity could end up being Wonder Woman’s new secret weapon.
JACKIE ORMES, A MONUMENT
Jackie Ormes, the nation’s first black female syndicated cartoonist, grew up in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, and attended high school there in the late 1920s. Her legacy will henceforth be celebrated with a new Pennsylvania historical marker in Monongahela’s Chess Park. (We have a photograph of the marker on the other side of the $ubscribers Wall.)
Ormes drew cartoons that appeared in her high school yearbooks, reported Scott Beveridge at the Observer-Reporter, and was working at a prominent black weekly newspaper in Pittsburgh as a writer and proofreader before graduating and becoming a syndicated cartoonist.
“She finally gave black girls something positive to identify with,” said Susan Bowers, president of Monongahela Area Historical Society.
Ormes’ cartoons appeared in the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender, featuring well-dressed, sophisticated black characters who were in sharp contrast to those that were featured in mainstream white newspapers. She created Torchy Brown, a young, adventurous woman from Mississippi who made it to the stage of the Cotton Club, and Patti-Jo, who was “known for politically scathing commentary,” according to biography.com. (See review of Tim Jackson’s Pioneers of Cartoonists of Color below.)
Her cartoons took on such issues as racism before the Civil Rights era, pollution in poor neighborhoods and educational injustices. Her art helped to break down racial and gender stereotypes “common in popular culture of the time,” the marker states.
Until that time, blacks were portrayed with racist, derogatory characters in newspaper advertisements and other illustrations, Bowers said. She said Ormes gave her audience characters who exhibited “positive self-images.”
Ormes also “hobnobbed with Duke Ellington” and other famous black Americans of her time after relocating to Chicago. “She was high society,” Bowers added.
The frame house at Ninth Street and Marne Avenue where she lived in Monongahela is still standing. For more about Ormes, see the R&R review of Nancy Goldstein’s Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist in Opus 219.
In its October issue—the 8th issue since the banning of nipples and pudenda— Playboy persists in desecrating the arts of cartooning by (a) not publishing any genuine cartoons and (b) printing another excretion by Nicholas Guerwitch. This educational effusion appears on the other side of the $ubscribers Wall. ... To See it and to Experience Our Election Year Extravaganza with a Report on the Editoonists’ Convention, Scads of Trump Caricatures and Reports on Most of His Malfeasances and Sexual Hangups plus Various of the Happy Harv’s Harangues on Numerous Subjects, Dubious Discussion of Wonder Woman’s Sexual Preferences and Reviews of Pioneering Cartoonists of Color and a Collection of Kelly’s Onion Kartoons and More, Much More— Click Here And If You're Not a $ubscriber/associate—
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